Planning My Type Specimen Poster

First draft, playing around with fonts and sizes, before starting on the poster.
Just using the date the font was made

My fist idea was to split the page in half, one side would be white and the other black. Using inspiration from a poster I had studied I created the heading as if it was a part of the black background. Splitting my poster into 12 columns I placed the text above the heading in black writing, using the ‘Baskerville’ font. To show examples of the font and to make them stand out on the page I decided to create examples using, Capital, Bold and italic letters. The poster is to celebrate the ‘Baskerville’ font and show all its elements, on the black side of the poster I decided to create some larger examples of the letters in grey scale this makes them more interesting and visual. To  include the fonts history in the poster I placed the birth date in the top right corner of the black background.

one of my final poster ideas.

On my final draft I have also included an image of the font being used as the heading for the ‘American Gangster’ film poster. I have also included the quote “The king of fonts” that shows its one of the most used and recognised fonts. I really like this poster, it shows the font in a traditional and elegant way just like the font itself. However in my opinion the design is slightly too formal to be a poster, I should have used the size of the page slightly more and possibly created some letters so that they all weren’t just straight and simple.

This is the first draft of my second design, i have used all black for the background letters with white writing over the bold black square. However I wasn’t happy with how simple and plain this design was.
I then decided to change some of the letters to grey scale, which I thinks makes it look less clustered and gives the poster depth.
Th next idea I had was to find a quote that would complete the poster, at the same time showing an example of what the Baskerville font looks like in italics.
Lastly I decided to add the date of when the font was created to the bottom of the page in grey scale, filling the blank space.
Final type specimen poster idea

The final poster was pleasing, the layout celebrates the font in an elegant and traditional way.  I also like how the grey scale gives the poster depth and breaks the letters so they don’t look to clustered on the page. However I could have possibly experimented with what the letters look like in bold.

After reflection I decided to experiment further and see what the poster would look like if I inverted the colours.

Using illustrator to invert the colours
Experimented with the same design but different colours

I thought the lettering in the background was quite effective on the solid black but I think the middle part of the poster wasn’t as striking as it was with a black background.


Examples of type specimen

The main reason I chose this poster was because of its strong layout; using the whole of the page and the heading to show this. I really like how the letter ‘u’ is filled with text, this shows a large example of the typeface. Another strong feature is how the text looks almost as if its stuck to the letter U,this ties the information together in a clear and tidy way. I also like the how the words aren’t in a straight line possibly showing the playful characteristics of the font.


I really like the layout of this poster, the solid black on top of the white background, the contrast between colours makes the poster stand out. The writing on the white and background stands out he work together nicely and gives the poster the detail so that it’s not to simple and doesn’t drag too much attention. The layout of the page is really strong because it celebrates the font in a unique way that doesn’t look too clustered on the page.


The following poster is quite simple but very effective in my opinion. The poster focusses all its attention to the style of the font and possibly showing that it’s quite a simple and elegant font by not playing around too much with the styles and layout. There is also plenty of ways you would experiment with this layout too, possibly inverting the colours and experimenting with how the letters and texts are placed.


This is one of my favourite layouts because it uses the space on the page well and all the characters have a sense of connection. The unique layout catches your eye which is why it’s so successful. The poster also makes it clear that the font is known for its sharp lines and serifs, showing this through the way it’s placed on the page.


Even though the poster below celebrates a much bolder and bigger font to the Baskerville typeface the layout of the poster is very unique and stands out. I really like the use of the space on the page, how all the letters gather  on one side of the page , possibly showing how the typeface is quite modern and futuristic. However this poster is not completed without the effect of the colours so it isn’t useful for the type of poster that I want to create.

Researching the history of Baskerville typeface-“the King of fonts”

“Having been an early admirer of the beauty of letters, I became insensibly desirous of contributing to the perfection of them. I formed to myself ideas of greater accuracy than had yet appeared, and had endeavoured to produce a set of types according to what I conceived to be their true proportion”.
—John Baskerville, preface to Milton, 1758 

The creation of Baskerville typeface?

John Baskerville was an inspired business man and industrial entrepreneur. He was a perfectionist and self-taught printer from Birmingham, with a combined passion for design and technology. He had been working as a servant until his employer discovered his penmanship and sent him to learn how to write. The designer was highly interested in calligraphy before developing his own method of writing, resulting to bright woven paper and using dark inks. After his death in 1775 a sculptural tribute was created for the designer called the ‘Industry and genius’, the word only civic monument to a typeface.

I got my information from the following website.

History behind the type?

The traditional typeface was created in 1757 with a unique colour, a glossy, oily and near purple ink mixed with ‘fire-black’ soot gathered from glass and soldered lamps. The Baskerville typeface was not always a popular typeface but was appreciated mainly for its legibility, its beauty, crisp edges, high contrast and generous proportions. John Baskerville made many improvements to the typeface such as creating them so that they were more accurate and consistent. The designer switched to creating a softer typeface with much rounded serifs. The purpose of the typeface was to be used in private press work, and shortly after John Baskervilles death in 1775 it was acquired by the French foundry. By the late 1700s the type was considered to be lost before gaining its popularity after the monotype revival.

I got this information from the following website.

Examples of the typeface being used?

  • The Metropolitan Opera (ticket poster)
  • American Gangsters poster
  • Books
  • It’s a very traditional font so it can be used to make posters and books look more elegant and mature in design.
  • Found on the ‘Better homes and Gardens’ magazines
  • Greeting/occasion cards
  • ‘Woodford’ Reserve whiskey’.

The font always been popular for its unique beauty and elegance. It is mainly used in books, book covers, magazine covers and poster headings, that are trying to create a classical, elegant or traditional theme. Examples of the font being used in a more traditional form is on the poster of the film ‘American Gangster’. The font is also used for prestigious events due to its elegance and classical looks it’s the number one choice for the ‘The Metropolitan Opera’ tickets. Another use of the font is found on ‘Woodford reserve whiskey’, who said, “When I pick up a bottle of whiskey, I expect to see typography that conveys tradition, craft, and age” it fits in well with the branding and product. I would not expect to see this typeface used for such products as Facebook who tend to use “Stainless” a squarish, modern typeface with some striking similarities to Kavita, this is the basis for Facebook’s logo.


Photos from this website.

Developing Layout

Deconstructing design in print

For this workshop we were provided with a magazine, the idea was to visually deconstruct it. It contained 12 columns, split into 4,8 and then 12 not including the images. Using the same grid system and style, we drew some sketches experimenting with the layout. Im happy with the sketches I’ve done, however I could do with deconstructing some more examples to get a better understanding of the work.




Six word story

Using Illustrator

After deciding what six word story I was going to use and sketched a couple of ideas in my sketch book. Using Illustrator on my iMac I started creating letterforms. I started by choosing two different fonts, one Serif and one sans. In my piece I wanted to show two sides, one side was the innocence of the ‘boy’ in the story and the other would be the ‘gigantic rhino cloud’. The picture below shows a mix of sans and serif letterforms which  was quite successful, however I thought that I could make it look more Innocent, so I continued experimenting!


The next one I did was slightly more rounded. However I still thought that it was quite simple and it needed adjusting!


Final piece

I am really happy with the final poster, I think the fonts I have chosen go together really well and that the use of upper and lowercase letters really show the difference between innocence (the boy) and danger (rhino cloud). I am also very happy with the layout of the writing, creating the word ‘Gigantic’ slightly bigger than the other words really emphasises the words meaning. I’m also happy with the word ‘Eat’ because the sans and serif words work together to make it look like someones has taken pieces out of the word. I decided to place the words so that they were bigger at the top like a cloud rising from the ground. However if i was to do it again I would have experimented with using a black background and a white font to show more detail and possibly arrange the words so that I use more of the page.


Vernacular Typography

Today we had an introduction to Vernacular typography, a form of expressive typography that is created using the words meaning. In groups we then had to visualise our provided word, using our own space.

As inspiration for the project we researched some work from the NYC company Sagmeister & Walsh. Their work has really inspired me to experiment more with this form of typography, especially after seeing the ” Having guts always works out for me “project. My favourite thing about the project isn’t just how the words are visualised and created, but also how the picture itself is set, so that it’s exiting to look at and really makes you think about how they arranged it and what inspired them to do so.


My group was given the word implicit to experiment with, meaning something that’s suggested but not directly expressed. We found this word to be quite challenging at first as it was hard to visualise a word that was suggested but wasn’t actually there. Our first idea was create the word out of chocolate blocks and melt it until the word was no longer visible, but it didn’t quite go to plan!

The next idea was to write the word on a steamed up window to show how the word would last for a while but then gradually vanish. I thought that this was an interesting idea  as it made you think more about meaning  of the word. However as a group we decided that the word needed to be less visible to get the best result.


Another peculiar experiment we did was to cut the word out of tissue paper and boil it! The video shows how the letters were visible in the pan for a while until the water started to boil and the word was no longer visible. I really like the idea behind the video as it showed the words meaning really well, but for this project we needed a still picture so we tried something else.

The next idea was definitely one of my favourites! To create it we cut out the word implicit on plain paper and then shine a light behind the word so it would reflect onto the wall. However we did have to experiment with how and where we placed the word so that it was suggested and not direct. To do this we decided to place the word so that it its shadow cascaded  over the bend in the wall to make it look less intentional. We also tried holding a piece of folded paper to create extra shadows. If we were to do this again I think we need to experiment with using more objects to see what it would look like over different backgrounds.

After experimenting with many ideas we decided on a final piece. We placed the word in the picture but made it difficult to find. Using the outside space we scattered the letters around and took a picture from afar. The ‘I’ is placed next to the stairs, under the person in the bottom left corner, the ‘m’ and ‘p’ are placed on the first recycling bin, ‘L’ is placed on the corner of the wooden hut, both ‘i’ and ‘c’ are placed on the ground and the last two letters ‘i’ and ‘t’ are hung  on both of the trees. I am really  happy with this idea  because it shows you the meaning of the word visually and we’ve used the space well.


Letterpress Workshop

This morning I attended a letterpress workshop with Tim Martin. I had never done letterpress before so it was really interesting to learn how you use metal blocks to create your prints. In our ‘Dalton Maag’ group we learnt how to make prints,  place inc on the machine, set up our blocks and then how to tidy up after!

The first step was to choose something to write. I decided to use the quote “A typeface for a modern world” from the ‘Dalton Maag’ website. To start we had to place the letter blocks against a thin piece of led so that it created a straight line. To support the letters and keep them in place I then had to put pressure on both sides of the blocks using pieces of wood and metal (top right picture).

Once the block was done we then got to start printing. I started off by placing my metal block in the machine, I then made sure I had enough printing inc to make a clear print. After rolling inc over the letter blocks, I placed my my paper so that the letters printed on it.

Im happy with the final prints, but if i was to do them again I would make sure that theres enough Ink on the machine and that I apply enough pressure to the paper to make the letters stand out even more. However, I really like how well the black and red prints look together (Top left), when you put them together it creates a really modern effect and therefore fits in with the quotes meaning. I also like the red print on the tissue paper (bottom left), even though the smudge wasn’t intentional, it works well to create an unusual effect.